Spokane County jail

Rebecca White/SPR

The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office has determined that a corrections’ officer's use of lethal force against a 70-year-old woman last December was justified.

According to a news release, Sgt. Justin White shot Nancy King after King allegedly pulled a knife and tried to force her way into the jail lobby. The release says White ordered her to drop the weapon before he shot, and she continued to walk toward him.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane County has a new coronavirus outbreak at the downtown jail.

The county says a dozen inmates at the downtown facility have tested positive. The jail division has dedicated two floors to quarantine inmates and keep them away from the rest of the jail population for two weeks.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A progressive Washington group is touting a new poll of people’s attitudes about criminal justice in Spokane. Fuse Washington’s survey asked residents whether they would support a two-tenths-of-a-cent sales tax increase to fund construction of a new Spokane County jail.

The poll says only 40% of the 500 respondents would support paying more sales tax for a 1,200 bed jail.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Hospitals around the Northwest are welcoming shipments of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine this week. Some will begin administering it this week.

The top priority is health care workers at the highest risk of contracting the virus, especially those who work with Covid patients. Employees and residents of long-term care facilities are also in that first tier. Beyond that, it’s not clear who would be next.

Courtesy of Jail Exchange

Spokane County officials report 39 cases of Covid among inmates at the Geiger Correctional Center in Airway Heights and one at the county jail downtown.

Screenshot from City Cable 5

The Spokane City Council has adopted principles it says the city will consider as it operates its part of the county’s criminal justice system.

The resolution includes language adopted by a local task force that has evaluated Spokane’s criminal justice system.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

During the last few weeks, Spokane County judges have been reviewing the cases of people who are incarcerated at the county jail and the Geiger Correctional Center. Many of the inmates held on lower-level charges were released on their own recognizance as a way to reduce their exposure in case someone in the jail tests positive for the coronavirus.

Members of the Spokane Smart Justice Coalition, including Carmen Pacheco-Jones, applaud that.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Today on Inland Journal and the Inland Journal podcast, the coronavirus hijacked the Washington legislative session during its last couple of weeks. Lawmakers worked to approve a $200 million package aimed at helping people affected by Covid-19.

We’ll talk with two Spokane area legislators about that and other accomplishments from the session. Coronavirus could be a big issue in correctional facilities.

We’ll hear about the closure of Spokane’s non-profit legal clinic, the Center for Justice. Those stories and more on Inland Journal.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Today on Inland Journal, Spokane moves one step closer to determining whether it should consider modernizing its jail or building a new one.

"I think the best financial situation for Spokane would be to put in place these initiatives and continue to expand on them so there would not need to be any new construction.”

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A Spokane community group is moving forward with developing recommendations for a new county criminal justice center. Those recommendations will include ideas for a new physical space to replace or supplement the current jail.

Spokane’s Justice Task Force includes county commissioners, representatives from the city of Spokane, from law enforcement and the court system and others involved in criminal justice.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Today on the Inland Journal podcast, we’ll talk with two of the three authors of a 2013 review of the Spokane County criminal justice system. We’ll look at where progress has been made as community leaders ponder, yet again, whether to build a new jail.

Some of the recommendations from that Blueprint for Reform have been implemented; some haven’t.

Here to talk about that are retired Superior Court Judge Jim Murphy and attorney Phillip “Dutch” Wetzel.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A criminal justice research group says Spokane County is jailing African and Native Americans at much higher rates than whites.

That was one of the takeaways from jail data presented today [Wednesday] by Wendy Ware from the JFA Institute. She’s analyzing Spokane County jail statistics as she writes a forecast for how many people the county can expect to incarcerate during the next 10 years.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Today on Inland Journal, we’ve spent two programs during the last month talking with the candidates for Spokane mayor. Now we talk with the man they’re hoping to replace.

With five months to go in his administration, David Condon is still moving ahead on a variety of issues, including homelessness. For example, the city is planning to buy a building to renovate for a homeless shelter in east Spokane, near the city’s border with Spokane Valley.

But we asked him about something else: a city proposal to create its own facilities to handle people charged with misdemeanor crimes.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Wednesday on the Inland Journal podcast, will Spokane city and county officials put a jail proposal before voters later this year or next year? It’s still an open question, says Maggie Yates, the administrator of the county’s Regional Law and Justice Council. She tells us the council will hire a New York organization to interview local officials to gather information and opinions about how to move forward.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Is a new jail in Spokane County’s near future? What would it look like? How much would it cost? Those are all open questions.

Spokane local officials are close to hiring a New York organization to gather information to help them make a decision about a new jail.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Monday on the Inland Journal podcast, we check in with the Bail Project. Three months ago, we reported on a non-profit organization with a revolving bail fund setting up shop in Spokane. During that time the project has helped about 60 people get out of the Spokane County jail to resume their lives while the criminal justice system adjudicates their cases. We’ll talk with  one of the women involved with the Bail Project here.

Spokane Group Challenges New Jail Proposal

Mar 26, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A Spokane social justice group is beginning to build a defense against the concept of a new jail in Spokane County. The group held a public meeting Monday night to criticize the idea.

In January, Spokane County Commissioner Al French said he wanted to develop a ballot measure to fund a new jail for the November 2019 ballot. Nothing official has been announced, but members of the group Spokane Community Against Racism are already blasting the idea.

Spokane Mayor Says It's Too Early For Jail Ballot Measure

Jan 11, 2019
City of Spokane

Spokane County Commissioner Al French is trying to build momentum to put an initiative to fund a new county jail before voters this year.

Spokane Mayor David Condon believes it’s too early to consider that.

Jail Measure Could Appear On 2019 Spokane County Ballot

Dec 27, 2018
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane city voters will choose a new mayor  and city council president in 2019, as well as deciding three city council races.

The November 2019 ballot could also include a measure that would fund a new county jail.